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Most unlikely multi-HR World Series games

Way back and gone ... on repeat
@michaelsclair
October 22, 2020

Brandon Lowe is one of the Rays' best hitters. He was an All-Star in 2019 -- his first big league season -- and the second baseman led the team in home runs (14) and OPS (.916) this summer. But since recording hits in each game of the Wild Card Series

Brandon Lowe is one of the Rays' best hitters. He was an All-Star in 2019 -- his first big league season -- and the second baseman led the team in home runs (14) and OPS (.916) this summer. But since recording hits in each game of the Wild Card Series against the Blue Jays, Lowe had been in a dreadful slump. In his last 13 games entering Wednesday's action, Lowe was just 4-for-48 with one home run and 18 strikeouts.

Still, Rays manager Kevin Cash showed faith in his star and kept him in the No. 2 spot in the batting order for Game 2 of the World Series against the Dodgers. Cash was rewarded as Lowe broke out of his slump in a big way with two home runs and three RBIs to get the Rays going. Those home runs proved crucial in the Rays' 6-4 victory to even the Series at one game apiece.

While Lowe's dingers were unexpected because of the funk he was mired in, everyone knew the hits would come one day. Still, there have been plenty of big leaguers who have come out of nowhere to post multi-home run games on the game's biggest stage.

While 55 batters have hit multiple dingers in a World Series game, here are the 10 least likely to pull it off -- from earliest to most recent.

1. Patsy Dougherty, Red Sox - 1903 World Series, Game 2

Home runs were hard to come by in the Dead Ball Era -- and Dougherty was no exception as he hit just 17 home runs in his big league career. And yet, somehow, we've already got a multi-home run game in the first World Series in baseball history.

Dougherty led off the bottom of the first inning with an inside-the-park home run against the Pirates' Sam Leever -- exactly the kind of thing you'd expect at a time when baseballs were soggy and lumpy and loaded up with whatever the pitcher could smear on it. But Doughtery then hit a traditional dinger to left field in the bottom of the sixth to aid Boston's 3-0 victory.

Oddly enough, it would take another 112 years before another player hit a lead-off inside-the-park homer in the World Series. The Royals' Alcides Escobar accomplished the feat against the Mets in 2015.

2. Harry Hooper, Red Sox - 1915 World Series, Game 5

Hooper hit only two home runs in 149 regular-season games in 1915, so, sure enough, he matched that in one World Series game. It was also the first time a player had a multi-homer World Series game since Dougherty had pulled it off 12 years earlier.

Hooper smashed a solo shot in the top of the third against the Phillies' Erskine Meyer, and then, with the score tied in the top of the ninth, he hit the Series-winning home run off Eppa Rixey to deep center field.

But that's not the most significant home run impact Hooper would have in his career. That's because the Red Sox right fielder is credited as playing a crucial role in turning Babe Ruth from a pitcher to an outfielder.

At the time, Ruth had said he wanted to hit, but manager Ed Barrow said he would be a laughing stock if he put his best pitcher in the field. Hooper then told the skipper that "crowds were turning out to see the Babe hit, not pitch." Just imagine how differently baseball history might play out if not for Hooper's insistence.

3. Tony Kubek, Yankees - 1957 World Series, Game 3

The Yankees shortstop and super-utility man was never much of a power threat, reaching double-digits in home runs only once in his big league career. So, naturally, Kubek looked his best as a rookie in the World Series against his hometown Milwaukee Braves.

Kubek not only grew up in the area, but he had worked out with the Braves in exchange for some free passes four years prior. Playing in Milwaukee for the first time as a big leaguer and with his family in the stands, Kubek started things off with a solo shot in the top of the first off Bob Buhl. He then iced the game with a three-run shot in the top of the seventh against Bob Trowbridge to give the Yankees a 12-3 lead in their Game 3 victory.

After the game, manager Casey Stengel said, “He lives here in Milwaukee and waited until he got home to let everyone know he’s a big leaguer.”

4. Willie Aikens, Royals - 1980 World Series, Games 1 and 4

That Aikens went deep twice is not surprising. The Royals slugger accomplished that feat seven times during the regular season in his career. No, what's surprising is that Aikens did it twice in the same Series. He was the first player to do that, with only Chase Utley joining him in the 2009 World Series.

In Game 1, Aikens had the best 26th birthday a person could ask for. He started it off with a two-run home run against the Phillies' Bob Walk in the third inning, and did the same in the eighth, chasing Walk from the game. Unfortunately, they weren't enough in a Royals loss.

That wouldn't be the case in Game 4. Aikens smashed a two-run home run in the first inning against Larry Christenson and later added a solo shot against Dickie Noles to wrap up the scoring in a 5-3 Royals win.

5. Willie McGee, Cardinals - 1982 World Series, Game 3

If you looked at McGee, you might be surprised that he ever hit a home run. Tall and thin, McGee was mostly known for his speed and defense. Even in his NL MVP Award-winning season in '85, McGee only hit 10 home runs.

But on this October day, everything was working for the Cardinals' center fielder. McGee hit a three-run home run off the Brewers' Pete Vuckovich in the fifth inning and then added a solo number in the seventh.

But McGee wasn't done. You could say he was plus-three in the homer department because he also robbed Gorman Thomas of a two-run homer in the ninth inning to preserve the 6-2 lead.

6. Andruw Jones, Braves - 1996 World Series, Game 1

Jones went on to have quite the big league career -- smashing 434 career dingers and leading MLB with 51 in 2005. But when he appeared in Game 1 of the 1996 World Series, most fans didn't know who he was. After all, Jones was a 19-year-old rookie who had only appeared in 31 regular-season games to that point.

He announced his arrival in a big way against the Yankees. Jones hit a two-run shot off Andy Pettitte in the second inning, and then smashed a three-run homer against Brian Boehringer in the third.

His power output also broke Mickey Mantle's record -- on what would have been Mantle's 65th birthday -- to become the youngest player to homer in a World Series game.

7. Scott Brosius, Yankees - 1998 World Series, Game 3

'98 was a magical year for the Yankees third baseman. He went to the lone All-Star Game of his career and won World Series MVP honors, too -- an incredible achievement considering he was on a team with Derek Jeter, Paul O'Neill and Jorge Posada. He sealed the deal on those honors in the Yankees' 5-4 victory in Game 3.

Brosius first homered off Sterling Hitchcock in the top of the seventh inning to get the Yankees on the scoreboard. Then, with New York trailing 3-2 in the top of the eighth, Brosius hit the game-winning three-run home run off future Hall of Famer Trevor Hoffman.

"I was waiting to see if it made it over the fence or not," Brosius said of his fist pump celebration around the bases. "When it did, I think that's when the hands go up and it's that initial reaction of, 'Yes!' No question, that was probably my No. 1 highlight. It's almost better than you can dream it. When you're doing it in the backyard, it's OK, but when you're doing it in real life, that's pretty sweet."

8. Pablo Sandoval, Giants - 2012 World Series, Game 1

Only four players have ever hit three home runs in a single World Series game. The first three are either in the Hall of Fame or soon will be: Babe Ruth, who did it twice, Reggie Jackson and Albert Pujols.

And then there's the Giants' lovable Kung Fu Panda. For as much fun as he's been in his big league career, his future probably doesn't lie in Cooperstown. That didn't stop him on this night -- and against another likely Hall of Famer, too.

Sandoval smashed a solo home run against the Tigers' Justin Verlander in the bottom of the first, and then hit a two-run shot off him in the bottom of the third. With Verlander chased after only four innings, Sandoval got his hat trick in the fifth inning when he went deep against Al Albuquerque.

9. Roberto Pérez, Indians - 2016 World Series, Game 1

Save for a 24-homer output in 2019, Pérez isn't known much for his bat -- and that was especially true in 2016. That season, the defensive whiz smashed only three home runs and had a .183 batting average. So, it made sense that the Indians hit him ninth against the Cubs.

Pérez responded by hitting a solo shot against Jon Lester in the fourth inning, and then ended Cleveland's scoring for the day with a three-run homer off Héctor Rondón in the eighth.

"Oh after that second one, he was definitely, definitely excited," Indians outfielder Rajai Davis (who hit his own big home run later in the Series) said. "You could see that joy in him. For him to go out and hit one home run is one thing, but for him to hit two, I mean, that's the stuff you see in history books."

10. Steve Pearce, Red Sox - 2018 World Series, Game 5

The Red Sox got plenty of unexpected contributions in their 2018 World Series title, including Eduardo Núñez's clutch three-run shot in Game 1 and Nate Eovaldi's heroic relief outing during Game 3's 18-inning marathon. But Pearce captured the Series MVP Award thanks to his two-homer day to clinch the Series in Game 5.

Pearce got things started early, hitting a two-run home run off Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw in the first inning to put the Red Sox up, 2-0. Though they'd never trail again, Pearce iced the cake with a solo shot off Pedro Báez in the top of the eighth to extend the lead to 5-1. Pearce joined Babe Ruth and Ted Kluszewski as the only players 35 or older to log a multi-homer game in the World Series.

Michael Clair writes for MLB.com. He spends a lot of time thinking about walk-up music and believes stirrup socks are an integral part of every formal outfit.